UAtalents decided to tell you about the Schirra IT company case, which hire Dmytro from Ukraine.

Tell us a little bit about your company? What is special about it?

Schirra IT consists of 2 companies, where one is dedicated to IoT + cloud solutions, and the other one specializes in software and web development. Often there are interconnected projects for customized solutions for our clients, which makes working at Schirra IT an intriguing experience for employees, as they assist each other with their individual expertise and, thus, help to create a unique family-like atmosphere at work.

With that approach, we operate on the opposite side of classical corporate hierarchy structures and have achieved phenomenal results so far.

Our company values the work-life balance for each team member and we support all with our network to find solutions to any given problem. We do company excursions and offer the voluntary option to partake in an after-work get-together once a week, as we see teamwork and the existence of a positive work environment as one of the key elements of our success. So we are very attentive to our employees and they return our dedication to them with impressive results, their commitment to the company, and client-oriented thinking and actions.

Why have you decided to hire Ukrainians? Did you have such an experience before the war?

It was the first time for us, to hire Developers from Ukraine, but one of the 2 Co-CEOs did have very positive experiences with regard to competence and work ethic in previous freelancing jobs. Next to our own loyal and long-term employees in this field of work, it is not very easy to find good IT Developers, who had also remained hungry on the job, constantly obsessed to continue to grow and learn. Such qualified developers have been hired by large corporations in the sector over the last years. We do see now again, however, that these developers are more and more leaving the corporate environment back to work in SME companies, as some of them are looking for a more family-like company structure, where the individual is not a simple number within a cubicle. So hiring Ukrainians is one of our sources of bringing talent into Schirra IT.

How did you happen to hire Dmytro? What was special about his application and about the process you adopted in general?

So, Dmytro had generally an interesting profile, since he had already led other people on various projects back in Ukraine. However, we do not hire people based on credentials, we are hiring character. Reading CVs is only 10% of the job for us to find out whether the candidate fulfills the technical minimum standard and experience. Dmytro convinced us then and is doing it still today by having an incredible work ethic and is constantly willing to learn something new. He is now working in a different work environment than before referring to his main expertise and task. Dmytro is intrinsically motivated to go forward and that is what makes him special to us.

Of course, we had a very simple application page in English with a basic role description, desired skills, and what we offer. An engineer can apply to a position in 5 clicks, it is as easy as it can be.

When he and his entire family came to Germany, we helped them not only with the VISA documents and the application for the German Blue Card, but also assisted him in finding the right home in Kaiserslautern. We, our management, went ourselves prior to their arrival to Kaiserslautern to check out available houses and apartments, and communicated and negotiated with owners and agencies. The German bureaucratic challenges can also be quite exhausting, so one of our staff members provided Dmytro and his family with help and guidance.

How is it going with Dmytro so far? Was there anything other employers must consider during the onboarding process?

I would say, just perfect (!). 

Even within this short period of time, he has become fully integrated into the company and with all other employees. He is helping others at work and if he himself needs anything, everybody is happy to jump in. This is indeed character depended and cannot be simply found on a CV.

Though we are taking the time in our company to integrate everybody fully, currently a highly skilled female developer from Tunisia if she or he wishes to do so. It is all about the company culture and each individual. Every employer has the chance to find an amazingly gifted and experienced candidate, but then these specialists might be unable to work in a team and thus create more problems for the management due to their character traits than helping the company and colleagues to go forward. We tried both approaches, learned our lessons from each, and opted for intact company culture and the full integration of individuals that are happy to come to work for and with us.

We do the following steps to integrate Dmytro:

1. Advised the existing team way in advance of the fact that we are hiring developers from Ukraine and why;

2. First point of contact for Dima besides myself, was Jonas, our welcome him with his future superior and take any fears and doubts away;

3. We immediately introduced him to the team through our daily meetings

4. During the first week we then arranged a get-together in the evening with the entire staff and invited Dima. He came with his wife and we all had a great time (alcohol was indeed consumed ;-) !)

5. He immediately was charged with new things to learn, no hold-barred kind of style so he immediately had the feeling to be a full member of the staff, he was very quick.

That cannot be a general management decision applying to all types of companies obviously. For us, this seems to be the right way, for other employers the choice might be a different one.

If you can give other employers a 5-step advice on how to hire Ukrainians efficiently, what would that be?
Know and define exactly the specific minimum technical requirements for a candidate to have. Be as sharp and simple as possible.
Know about the mentality and culture of each candidate (country of origin, customs, etc.). Just be truly interested and listen in order to find out what drives the applicant.
Hire character, not credentials, and test the willingness of candidates to grow.
Go all in as the employer (!) once you are sure about hiring someone.

There is always the chance that an employer wastes time because the candidate applied for several positions in other companies, but if the employer goes all in then something interesting happens: The candidate who is simply looking to find a post abroad or apply for a German visa does not want to give the same commitment as the employer and stops the process early.

The candidate that is looking for a serious mid-to-long-term work position mirrors the commitment of the employer and a great work relationship can begin. (We do not only have such experience with Dmytro, but several others are also with our IT company for over 15 years).

Create opportunities and social engagement with all employees and as an employer lead from the front! 

It is not possible to convince a foreign or local employee or anybody with a semi-type of commitment and dedication to the company.